Woman reunites with dog after partner dies in NM car crash


Melanie Garcia has been reunited with her dog, Otis, after surviving a car crash that killed her partner.

Screenshot of segment KOB 4

A New Mexico woman found a silver lining during a dark time when she was reunited with her dog after her partner died in a car crash.

Melanie Garcia and her longtime partner Kevin Barton were not married, KRQE reported. That didn’t stop her from calling him her husband, nor did that stop the two from looking after three dogs together at their Albuquerque home.

Barton took the dogs with him on Nov. 20 for dinner, KOAT reported. He was turning when he was run over by an SUV, driven by a suspected drunk driver, police said.

Barton was killed in the crash and two of the couple’s dogs were taken to a veterinary hospital. The third dog, Otis, fled from the scene and disappeared for almost three full days, leaving Garcia to worry and ask the community to help him find him, KRQE reported.

Eventually, someone spotted Otis near the crash site. He had an injured leg, but was in general good shape, KRQE reported.

Garcia called Otis ‘nickname – “‘ Mama’s, because he was a mama’s boy,” she said – and he immediately responded, appearing to be relieved to see Garcia, KRQE reported.

“Kevin, Kevin, Kevin made it possible,” Garcia told KOB 4. “He will be there for all of us to take care of us.”

/ SUV driver Casino Salazar, 19, was arrested and charged with vehicle-DWI homicide, possession of an open container and careless use of a firearm, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Vandana Ravikumar is a McClatchy Real-Time reporter. She grew up in northern Nevada and studied journalism and political science at Arizona State University. Previously, she reported for USA Today, The Dallas Morning News and Arizona PBS.

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